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Pakistan tests nuclear capable short-range missilenews
03 March 2007

Islamabad: Pakistan on Saturday tested another nuclear-capable, surface-to-surface ballistic missile, hard on the heels of one that it conducted last week. A military spokesman described the test of the short-range Hatf-II missile, with a range of 200km, as successful.

In a statement, the military said, "The test was aimed at validation of the desired technical parameters which has been successfully achieved." As per convention, India and Pakistan routinely inform each other in advance about impending tests.

The tests come on the back of an accord between the two countries to reduce the risk of accidents linked to their nuclear arsenals. The foreign ministers of the two countries signed the accord in February in New Delhi.

Last week Pakistan had test-fired a long-range nuclear-capable, surface-to-surface Hatf-VI missile, also called Shaheen II, with a purported range of 2,000 km.

The test of the Hatf-II comes after a year, with the last test reported to have taken place in February 2006.

The flurry of testing by Pakistan will have surprised some observers. They may look at the resumption of the composite dialogue process in mid-March, aimed at resolving outstanding issues between the two countries, as a likely reason. Keeping tensions ratcheted at a certain pitch could provide a convenient umbrella under which to put forward bargaining positions.

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Pakistan tests nuclear capable short-range missile